Joined: Jun 2002
Wednesday April 04, 2007 6:25 PM
Hi Judge Baird,
You stated: "SB899 and in general the legislature's abdication of any significant fact finding by committee and low quality of draftsmanship will continue to benefit the self-insureds and carriers at the expense of the legitimate IW and treaters."
I do agree with you that the PSI and the IC community are the ones who benefited from SB 899, and that the cost is being borne by the IW, as well as those treatment providers.
However, I'm not so sure about the poor drafting being due to "the legislature's abdication." Instead, as I remember it, the governator was holding the "voter initiative gun" to the legislator's heads. It was the threat of revamping the comp system, constitutionally, that scared the legislators into signing off on SB 899 --- and there was a mandated deadline, by the governator, for the legislators to sign off on SB 899.
At that place in space and time when the governator was holding that "voter initiative gun" to the legislator's heads, he was riding a tremendous groundswell of public support. I would posit that if the legislature did not sign off on SB 899, the governator would indeed have taken it to the people, and he would have prevailed.
Then, because the constitution had been amended, it would take, as I recall, a 2/3 vote from both houses to change the constitution back --- at some later date. At least the way it is now, once this governator is gone, all it will take would be a sympathetic governor and a simple majority to change the system back.
But, like you, I have retired from the comp system. It has now been 2 years, 4 months, and 4 days, since I chose to accept a new IW referral --- and even if it changes back sometime in the future, I will not be back.
Now that I have focused on building my practice around individual/group health insurance patients, as I did when I started my company, I am enjoying getting paid in 30 - 60 days, not 30 - 60 months. Also, in the individual/group health insurance arena, there is no discussion about the report of Dr. Washout, a Thomas C&R, or the report from a UR physician located in Texas. Last, in the individual/group health insurance arena, I have no need to maintain a staff of lawyers, paralegals, JDs, and hearing reps. It is quite simple: either the individual/group health insurance company pays me, or I go collect from my patient.
I hope to have my California comp AR cleared up by the end of this year, but in reality, probably not until 2008. The good news for us lien claimants, at least here in the southern region, is that we can now block set our lien conferences or lien MSCs --- something we were forbidden to do in the past by most PJs.
If the DA fails to show up at a lien MSC, we are being allowed to fill out the pre-trial conference statement, discovery is being closed, and the matter is forwarded to the PJ to set for trial per CCR 10562(b)(1-2).
My company, along with a number of other lien claimants, just did that yesterday in a case where there is well over $100k in outstanding liens. It will be interesting to see if a DA shows up for trial, for the IC failed to send anyone to the lien conference last month, and nobody appeared on behalf of defendant at the lien MSC yesterday, despite the IC being ordered to appear. The lien claimant, who served the IC with the order to appear as well as the notice of hearing, furnished the WCJ with a POS for both the lien conference and the lien MSC --- demonstrating that defendant had bee noticed.